ST. PAUL -- Members of the Minnesota Senate re-wrote their rules on harassment and discrimination for the first time in almost two decades. The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration on Monday, March 25, voted unanimously to advance changes to the body's non-discrimination and harassment policies. The vote allowed the rules to take effect immediately, replacing ones in place since 1990.
ST. PAUL -- An evaluation of the potential environmental impact of an Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline construction project left out "the elephant in the room," the potential damage it could cause to the St. Louis River and Lake Superior. That's according to attorneys that appealed the impact statement, arguing it's inaccurate. They, along with attorneys defending Enbridge's assessment and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission's process, presented their oral arguments to the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Wednesday, March 20.
ST. PAUL — Spring flooding across the state is imminent and potential damage could rival that caused by historic 1965 floods, which are remembered as the worst in a century in Minnesota. Warming weather and resulting snowmelt along with possible snow and rain in the next several weeks will determine just how vast the damage could be, national weather experts said Friday, March 15. And in the meantime, state and federal officials said they're preparing to get ahead of possible overflows.
ST. PAUL -- Fraud exists in the state's child care assistance program, but investigators can't put a number on just how much it has cost taxpayers. The nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor on Wednesday, March 13, released a report that showed some level of fraud exists in the program aimed at helping low-income people afford childcare, but they can't substantiate a claim that that fraud came out to $100 million.
ST. PAUL -- A group of Minnesota lawmakers doesn't want taxpayers to foot the bill for the state's appeal of the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline construction project. A Senate panel on Tuesday, March 12, passed a bill that would prevent the Minnesota Department of Commerce from putting state funds toward an appeal of the construction project. The proposal comes after the Walz administration last month announced that it would renew an appeal of the pipeline replacement project planned for northern Minnesota.
ST. PAUL -- Dozens of stakeholders cast opposing predictions Tuesday, March 12, about what the passage of a proposal to bring Minnesota's electric sector to 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2050 would mean for the state. At the bill's first hearing, supporters said the plan could help curb the impacts of climate change in Minnesota while opponents said it would pose a "first-order threat" to the stability of the state's electric grid.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Senate on Monday, March 11, advanced a proposal to keep subsidizing health insurance companies for three years, setting up a conflict with Gov. Tim Walz and Democrats. The proposal would maintain the reinsurance program, which lets the state absorb some of the expense to private health insurers to offset the cost of care for some of the pricier claims they cover.
ST. PAUL -- A proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Minnesota came up short of the support it needed in a Senate committee, raising questions about the proposal's future. The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy on Monday, March 11, voted 3-6 against advancing a proposal that would legalize marijuana and allow for the expungement of certain crimes involving the drug. Democrats on the panel supported the bill while Republicans opposed it.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota couples considering divorce would be able to bypass the courts under a proposal advancing through the state Legislature. The proposal would give married couples the option to set the terms of their divorce and file for marital dissolution through a cooperative divorce program, which would be housed under the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday, March 5, signed into law his first two bills, an indication that Minnesota's divided Legislature could rack up some early wins, legislative leaders said. The bills provide stopgap funding to help improve the state's troubled vehicle registration and licensing computer system and make tweaks to a set of public works projects aimed at resolving legal challenges. Both passed through the House of Representatives and Senate Monday night. And the proposals required compromise.